Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bio based economy

When you walk the streets of San Fransisco, you're quite likely going to hear people talking about biofuels and biodiesel. The same goes for Helsinki and Paris, or Berlin and London. The interest for a bio based economy is increasing all over the world. We want to decrease our dependence of crude oil.

Helge: I wrote about this a year ago. It's time to re-evaluate: is this statement still true?

"The importance for a Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy in Europe is that through these technologies the EU will become less dependent on fossil fuel, which is of both economic and environmental importance." Explains Dirk Carrez, Public Policy Director for EuropaBio. "Industrial or white Biotechnology is the use of biotechnology for the processing and production of chemicals, bioplastics and biofuels."

Helge: EU and US are learning new things about the bio based economy. The pragmatic reality is replacing visons, powerpoint presentations and high-level mission statements.

Biotechnology has the potential to form the basis of a future EU Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy (KBBE) and make European society both more sustainable and more competitive.

The Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy’s aim is to use more biomass as a renewable resource and to be less dependent on fossil fuel, says Mr. Carrez.

"We therefore need all the technologies, biotechnology being one, to be used to transform biomass into a range of different products."

These products range from

  1. fuels,
  2. chemical applications,
  3. energy,
  4. pulp and paper,
  5. detergents,
  6. plastics,
  7. clothing,
  8. textiles and so on.

Biotechnology and biomass derived products already touch our every day lives. For example biofuel such as bioethanol, enzymes in detergents which mean effective washing can take place at 30°C instead of 60°C , biodegradable plastics for packaging, wrap and drinking cups, fibres for clothing and carpets, vitamins and dyes to name a few.

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